Mississippi State’s second-year coach has a new contract worth $10.6 million over four years, the school announced Thursday. That averages out to $2.65 million a year, although his yearly pay is on an escalating scale, so he won’t make that much the first year.
Mullen, 38, is making $1.5 million this year, the lowest salary in the SEC. The average salary of his new deal would put him in the middle of the pack. As of right now, only 10 head coaches in the country make more than $2.65 million a year.
The length of the contract – which must still meet IHL board approval – is the maximum allowed for state employees, and MSU likes to keep its coaches at that max.
Athletics director Scott Stricklin said the deal was agreed upon earlier this week and finalized Thursday morning, when Mullen signed a memorandum of understanding.
“We’re excited for the work Dan has done with us, and our goal is to build a program that can win consistently and have success and compete for championships,” Stricklin said. “This is a big commitment for us to make sure we’ve got the people in place that can make that happen.”
That commitment is mutual. There was much talk earlier this month of Mullen being considered for openings at Miami and Florida, and while nothing ultimately materialized, his early success at MSU makes him a hot commodity.
Stricklin said the coaching carousel chatter didn’t effect contract negotiations, which Mullen said went smoothly.
“Like I said, it’s market-driven, it’s not emotion-driven,” Stricklin said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re in position to have a program that wins consistently, and who’s leading up that program is a big part of it.”
Said Mullen, “To me, I’ve never really had any interest in leaving here this year. And now with this deal, I certainly have no interest in leaving any time in the future.”
It’s hard to measure the impact Mullen’s had on the football program, and by extension the athletic department as a whole. But it’s been a big impact.
“Between (2008) and his first year, we were about $5 million or so in ticket revenue, and we’re up to about $8 million or so after Dan’s first year,” Stricklin said. “That’s a pretty significant jump, and that doesn’t even take into account all the other (benefits), the Bulldog Club donations and everything else that was impacted by that.
“We’re not in a bottom-line business like a corporation would be, but finances are pretty important to what we’re trying to do.”
The new deal sends a message to the players that Mullen and the MSU administration are committed to long-term success. Sophomore receiver Chad Bumphis was one of the first people Mullen told about the contract.
“That’s what he told us, he said when he recruited us he was going to stick around for a while,” Bumphis said. “The way he’s turned this program around, you have no choice but to be excited.”
Mullen’s buyout has been raised from $750,000 to $1.4 million. His incentives package will remain about the same, according to Stricklin, who said Mullen will get more than $200,000 in bonuses for this season’s accomplishments.
Stricklin said he and Mullen will soon start working on getting raises for MSU’s assistant coaches.
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or email@example.com.